Cultural policy: Making culture the focus of attraction
Culture brings people together. Especially during the Covid 19 pandemic, many citizens became aware of how important social contacts and good company are. This concerns first and foremost culture. The DP has been promoting cultural diversity for years and will continue to make this a priority. This includes not only museums, theatres, film productions, etc., but also the appreciation of all cultural workers and their work.
Culture is for everyone. For the DP, it is a priority that young people also come into contact with culture at an early age. In the current legislative period, for example, the DP has introduced free music lessons and initiated various cultural projects in schools.
Likewise, the new Monument Protection Act, which was drafted under the leadership of a DP minister, was passed during this period. In this way, we in Luxembourg finally have clear and transparent rules for the protection of our cultural heritage; be it architectural, archaeological, movable or intangible cultural property.
The Cultural Development Plan (CDP) plays a prominent role in this context and stands for dialogue and permanent exchange. The assises culturelles , in particular, are intended to ensure constant communication between the Ministry of Culture and cultural practitioners. The Cultural Development Plan must therefore be constantly developed – this is the only way it can fulfil its role.
Cultural policy is also location policy. The DP will strengthen Luxembourg’s position on the world map with an even broader, cultural offer. With ‘Esch2022 , Luxembourg has strengthened its image beyond its borders. Cultural associations, however, must also receive the necessary funds to be able to promote themselves abroad.
Classical cultural sites that have significantly shaped our national history must upgrade their infrastructure in order to maintain or improve their attractiveness. In close cooperation with the municipalities, a strategy must be worked out that ensures long-term cultural perspectives for these places and continues to make them magnets for soft tourism.
Ancient, excavated cultural sites are part of Luxembourg’s identity. We are committed to networking these and making them more visible on the map of cultural tourism. Digital media should be helpful in this regard and also provide the essential information in easy language. In cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism, Roman roads and villas in Luxembourg and the Greater Region should be made better known to the general public and as accessible as possible to everyone.
Historic gardens are often associated with protected buildings. The Florence Charter regulates their protection. We want to support their care. A national prize is to be awarded to those people and institutions who dedicate themselves to the preservation and expert maintenance of historic gardens.
In addition, we want to expand the Rendez-vous aux jardins initiative in cooperation with the municipalities and nature parks. The goal is to combine contemporary art and garden culture within the framework of old and modern architecture.
We are committed to the creation of a National Gallery to exhibit and preserve works by recognised Luxembourg artists. In this way, the history of art in our country is to be brought closer to the people, and the artistic essence of the Grand Duchy is to be exhibited and preserved.
A digital encyclopaedia of the Luxembourg art scene and local arts and crafts should be created under the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture and in collaboration with different stakeholders in order to bring the creative power of our art scene closer to the younger generations.
We are committed to ensuring that the professional stakeholders of the Luxembourg dance scene soon have suitable premises at their disposal. As cultural ambassadors of Luxembourg, they need appropriate conditions to be able to develop their art in the best possible way.
We want to make the cultural offer more visible and clearer, as many citizens risk losing the overview in view of the abundance of information.
In partnership with the professional stakeholders, as well as the national and regional cultural institutions, we will therefore launch the internet portal www.echo.lu further developed. Users should be able to adjust the portal’s settings to their personal preferences.
Artisans, designers, graphic artists and others in the creative industries are increasingly finding their audience in pop-up stores, other small shops and hobby markets across the country. Sustainability plays an important role in this. That is why the DP wants to increase its efforts to provide artists with studios, retail space and platforms. The 1535° in Differdingen is the only creative centre in Luxembourg so far. The DP will ensure that this concept can also emerge at other locations in the country.
Culture LX will move into Villa Louvigny in the heart of Luxembourg City. Nevertheless, there is a need for more such sites. In Mersch, for example, there is the Luxembourgish Language Centre. Additional national cultural projects could be located elsewhere in the country.
Open-air events are also becoming increasingly important. Culture must come to the people. It belongs in the middle of our society.
Art in public space is to be given a greater status. Just as 1% of the associated budget is already to be used for art in public projects and buildings, every publicly accessible place should also be given a cultural approach.
The number of desecrated churches and parsonages is increasing. Buildings owned by the congregation or made available to the congregations by the church fund can be put to good use for new cultural and social purposes. The DP supports this alternative use and will continue to advocate where it makes sense to protect these buildings together with their mobile cultural heritage as national monuments.
The management of castles and palaces is often taken over by volunteers. The DP wants to continue to support them in their voluntary offices.
We will create additional housing for young freelance artists, both in urban and rural areas.
In consultation with the municipalities and owners, we will rent protected historic buildings that are temporarily empty to make them available to creative artists for their work. Owners of real estate who commit to hosting artists for a certain period of time are to receive tax relief.
Furthermore, we want to create additional artist residencies in larger localities where young emerging talents can live in shared flats for a certain period of time and exchange ideas. This strengthens the diversity of the local community, supports the arts scene and revitalises city centres. Likewise, in cooperation with the municipalities and owners, we will use vacant commercial spaces where artists can set up a studio.
It is not for nothing that UNESCO has designated language as the first building block of cultural heritage. Language and language use are the cornerstones of any tradition. Luxembourgish traditions are also closely linked to our mother tongue.
With this in mind, the DP Minister of Education has launched a number of initiatives.
UNI Luxembourg plays an important role in researching and documenting the Luxembourgish language, our traditions and customs. Among other things, a new Bachelor’s degree programme was created. In addition to the previously introduced Master’s programme, students can now study Luxembourgish Studies immediately after their baccalaureate.
Beyond language, intangible heritage helps promote social cohesion. However, this requires that these topics are also dealt with in school. Children and young people need to understand the meaning and origin of a tradition so that it can be passed on from generation to generation.
For the second time, the Lëtzebuerg (er)liewen Action Week took place in June 2022. This is about young people, pupils and schools bringing the world of Luxembourg music, theatre, literature or cultural heritage to life. The website developed for this occasion with teaching material for teachers and children is to be further expanded. The DP considers culture to be an important building block of social integration.
The new law on the protection of historical monuments has set the course for the future. However, the need for selective adjustments is not over. The DP will have the implementation of the law reviewed to see if further precision or elaboration is needed in the procedures and admission criteria. Suggestions for new uses of the protected object should be added to a heritage application.
In addition, the DP will consider parity between the municipality and the state in the protection of buildings. Currently there is national protection, and protection via the General Development Plan in the municipalities. An ongoing dialogue between INPA and the municipalities is necessary to protect historic buildings in a responsible manner.
On the occasion of the cultural year “Esch2022“, a project was carried out by the University of Luxembourg and in constant exchange with the population to reappraise the local cultural heritage. Such projects are to be extended to the national level.
The energy refurbishment of all buildings is a necessity. Renovating old, protected buildings in harmony with monument protection, and in accordance with sustainable energy policy, is difficult to implement without compromise. Forward-looking, individual solutions must be found together with the owners.
Luxembourg lacks artisans who master traditional craftsmanship. For this reason, the DP will ensure that additional training in traditional crafts is offered at the Institute for Sectoral Training in Construction .
A number of new institutes have been created under the new Cultural Heritage Act. The intangible heritage, however, was not taken into account. Thus, the responsibility of its preservation lies with the tradition bearers, who are not yet sufficiently supported at present. Furthermore, knowledge about the different traditions is becoming rarer as the people familiar with them become fewer over time.
The customs that still exist and are lived must be specifically recorded, protected and supported. The traditions must be documented, and digitally archived in the Intangible Cultural Heritage Institute. The DP will work to create an inter-ministerial working group and, in a further step, to amend the law accordingly in order to create an institute for this area as well in the future.
Municipalities must be encouraged to establish modern and sustainable community libraries. For the DP, the priority is to subsidise public association libraries to turn them into permanent libraries and to increase the number of community libraries more quickly. The state as a partner assumes an incentive function; however, decisions are made at the local level while respecting municipal autonomy.
The law of 24 June 2012 on public libraries is currently considered the most authoritarian law in the European Union. As a result, the law will have to be adapted in parts for the future.
In this context, the DP demands that the opening hours as well as the range of services offered by libraries be extended to allow flexible use regardless of job and daily schedule. A uniform library card, which can be applied for on-line, is introduced with which one can borrow books from all the country’s libraries without pre-registration. In addition, a national delivery service is to be introduced, which will make it possible to have books delivered from different libraries to others. This service is to function with a digital pick-up system.
Art lessons in schools are predominantly oriented towards the past. But young people are more enthusiastic about modern content. The DP believes that our students should have contact with contemporary artists. A direct exchange can inspire both sides.
As the DP, we believe that access to art and culture, as a subject of general education, must be barrier-free and accessible to everyone. Exhibitions and inaccessible or non-barrier-free cultural sites are to be made digitally accessible. The range of digital guided tours should also be expanded. The digitisation of the projects should also enable an interactive exchange with artists or researchers. The digital processing of our valuable books is also to be intensified.
Luxembourg has many renowned artists and should create a digital gallery for Luxembourg art. The artist should be approachable and talk about himself and his works. The goal is for digital visitors to experience the artist and his work in an almost real way.
The Nuit de la culture in Esch should become even more digital. New digital ways have already been used with Esch2022 , for example with the digital art exhibition in the former Moellerei in Belval.
In the face of dwindling numbers of volunteers, we want to support regional cultural stakeholders at the staff level so that they can implement their organisational work more professionally and, above all, more easily without losing decision-making power. Regional festivals in particular are dependent on the advice and help of professional employees who can support volunteers in terms of public relations.
The DP would like to advocate for an increased awareness of culture-related career prospects. For example, the DP is considering the introduction of a cultural delegate in schools to introduce culture as such to pupils and explain career opportunities in the cultural sector.
Studies abroad have shown that culture makes a not insignificant contribution to the national economy. The DP would like to commission such a study and, depending on the results, further promote the industry.
The creation of a cultural observatory will ensure permanent monitoring and continuous research. This is the only way to determine how culture works in Luxembourg, where additional efforts are needed, and how best to promote the country’s cultural development.
The Ministry of Culture needs the necessary financial resources to fulfil its mission to support and promote the Luxembourg art and culture scene.
The government has been trying to increase the budget for years. The DP will continue to work to ensure a cultural budget of at least one per cent of the state budget.
Partnerships between business and culture go beyond the principle of an investment. By supporting culture, businesses make a comprehensive contribution to society. Initiatives that bring people together to create a new community are also part of this.
To ensure that the business community can continue to fulfil its social responsibility as a partner of culture in the future, strong patronage (cultural sponsorship) should be cultivated. Financial resources and in-kind contributions not only strengthen the cultural budget in the long term, but also help to ensure that the economic sector of culture can function independently of the state and remain as a guarantor of socio-economic development.
To promote these relations, a platform will in future facilitate encounters between business and culture and enable networks to be built in the interests of both.
Culture makes its contribution to supporting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)if it is innovative, democratic, participatory, sustainable and, last but not least, climate-neutral. Through effective and meaningful measures, cultural practitioners, structures, institutions and associations are to be accompanied in their projects in order to promote a sustainable cultural practice.